I’ve read this thread before and didn’t really grok what was being discussed. “Anki-fy your backlog” sounded like you wanted to memorise everything you needed to do, and I absolutely do not want to do that. That’s why I write it all down to start with. What’s lacking sometimes is systems to get round to doing what I wrote down.
But @dreev’s mention of “neglect-minding” in the weekly beemail last week struck a chord with me and I’ve been ruminating on it over the weekend. A forum search led me back here and things started to make more sense.
Over the last year or so I’ve reduced my to-do list to a system where I write down a single thing I’m going to work on for the next hour-ish (more of a 45 min commitment really). This is really working well for me, no more feeling like I have a shed-load of stuff to get through, or days where I think I can get more done than I can and end up disappointed in myself. “Let’s just get through this hour and then think about what comes next” seems to be the right way to nudge my brain into doing things. And when urgent tasks come up I can put them down as my next hour’s task and then remember where my time went rather than just doing the urgent task and being annoyed that I didn’t make any progress on the tasks I’d written down in advance.
But there’s still that huge list of things that I need to do, the backlog. I’ve recently moved from keeping my lists of things both done and to-do in Workflowy to Notion where everything is more structured. One of the things I’ve done recently is to try and separate out the “things I am actually currently working on” from the “things that (will/might) need doing at some point”. I’m trying to keep my list of “active assignments” to a reasonable length (a dozen feels about right to me). Some of these are work projects, some of them are personal, some need completing, some are ongoing but in need of regular attention. (My focus recently has been on making myself think about what constitutes an “assignment”, I changed the word from “project” because I needed to scale down my thinking to smaller completable chunks of things.)
The problem I can foresee is that some of the “active assignments” are going to get stale, I want (or need) to get them done but other things get prioritised. Which is where neglect-minding comes in.
I can order my list of active assignments by when I last completed an hour of work on them, and then make sure that whatever’s at the bottom of the list gets an hour of work. I’m committing to doing this twice a week, and I’ll give myself a free pass if everything on the active list has been worked on in the last week. And if things turn up and I feel they really don’t deserve that hour of work then it is probably time to move them off the active list, which is also good outcome.
Presuming this system works then I’d like to extend it to the non-active assignments I have written down too - that’s the real backlog. But “neglect-minding” the things I’ve already prioritised as needing doing now so they can actually get done and out of my hair already frees up space for moving things from backlog to active without being overwhelmed.